Keep Folks Informed

Players are actually a fairly agreeable lot. If they understand why things are happening the way they are, or if they can predict it, they are normally fairly accommodating. They’ll step up and help out if they can. If they trust that you are trying your best and the situation is out of your control, if a crisis develops, they’ll help out or accept a long lull.

1. Food. Will there be food supplied or should they bring food? Will there be enough food or is food-restriction part of the game? If you’ve asked for dietary restrictions, they’ll assume you’ve catered for them. But will you…? Can you…? Is there a scheduled mealtime or do folks eat when they want to? The Australian assumption is that there will be a scheduled mealtime, even if you haven’t indicated so. If there’s no supplied food, can they use the kitchen to store or prepare food? Or should they go off to the shops? Who should they tell before they go off to the shops, if anyone?

2. Water. Do people need to bring their own water bottles or is the water supply plentiful *and* easily accessible? Will there be opportunities to go and get water whenever I like or only at certain times? If it’s only at certain times, it’s worth putting in reminders when those times arise — like if we’re about to go on a 4 hour hike away from our water supplies. Now is the time to refill our bottles. Never restrict water supplies to add immersion.

3. Temperature. Is the location quite cold or hot? If it’s quite hot or cold and the event is either partially or wholly indoors, is there air conditioning? Some folks may make assumptions. Will you be using the air condition to MAKE it hotter or colder? What temperature setting would you be using? Is the setting non-negotiable? After all, I might forget that an indoor temperature of 29 degrees is different to an outdoor temperature of that because I can’t rely on wind, shade or the other usual methods to cool down. Therefore I might assume I’ll be fine, and then I’m not. If that happens, is it disruptive to ask it to be turned down a smidge? Also remember that folks have different temperature sensitivities so what may be a “pleasant 29 degrees” to you may make someone else feel faint from the heat.

4. Toilets. Are there enough? Ideally you’ll want at least 1 toilet for every 20 people. Are the toilets gender neutral? Some might find that uncomfortable, but others (especially trans folk) may prefer it. Is there an accessible toilet? Consider putting a sanitary bin in each toilet if there aren’t any at the time (including the men’s toilets as trans men sometimes still have periods). Remember that some folks need quick access to toilets, rather than wheelchair access, so if that’s the case you might put a sign on a regular cubicle to ensure it’s reserved for those who need it. Do folks need to bring their own toilet roll? This isn’t common in Australia but in other countries I’ve heard it’s done.

5. Running Water. Do the toilets have running water from their sinks? If they don’t, folks will need to prepare different alternatives to wash their hands. They might not feel comfortable with these other methods. Are there showers? Some folks need showers to prevent sweat rash or manage other health issues. Is there sufficient hot water? Folks who are used to hot water systems that heat as you go might forget that their 10 minute shower may mean everyone else gets cold ones.

6. Addictions. Where can people smoke? Do you have an ash tray set up or are people responsible for collecting their own butts? Don’t forget that caffeine is addictive and withdrawals can set off headaches and even migraines — will black tea or coffee be supplied or should people bring their own?

7. First Aid. You should just have a large first aid kit (like those used by a business or sport) and an accredited first aider. If you don’t, though, do mention it.

8. Insurance. Is the organisation uninsured? If they have insurance, what kind of insurance?

9. Safety Hazards. Are you playing right next to a cliff? Are the stairs very steep and unevenly paced and are those stairs their only way to bed? Will you be playing solely by candle light? Remember that what may be sufficient lighting to you, could leave someone with night sight issues completely blind. If there will be dark area, can folks bring a flashlight for discrete use? Or an LED candle they can pop in their pocket?

10. Sleep. Will their sleep be interrupted during the night? Can they be attacked in their beds? Is there an option to sleep in an area where their sleep will be undisturbed? Are they sleeping in a room filled with others? (Most LARPers except this but new players may not.) Are their bunk beds? Can they register their need for a lower bunk if they have health issues?

11. Time. Will you be messing with their perceptions of time? Can those who need to take medication at the same time each day, pack a discrete watch?

12. Personal Belongings. Can folks go through my stuff? How do I designate stuff that can’t be searched because it’s full of valuables or essentials like medication? Or is there a particular place to put those belongings so folks don’t think they’re game props?

13. Transport. Is there enough parking? If not, how far away must I park? (I once attended a game where if the parking lot filled up, the nearest other parking spots were 15 minutes away in town. It almost, but didn’t quite, happen.) Can I park close to game to offload stuff and then park further away?

This is a lot of potential information, so don’t feel like you need to provide EVERYTHING, especially upfront. You can safely delay information that is a cultural norm or which removes an issue. You don’t have to pre-warn folks that there is a place for OOC belongings, for example. You can tell them on the day or in your logistics letter. However they would need to know before purchasing their tickets if there will be no place to keep materials that aren’t in-play (as it may mean they can’t bring, say, medication) as that can affect some people’s decision to play.

Remember you can also mention some of these items as selling points! So it doesn’t need to be a dreary list of worries and concerns. What some folks hate, others love. So go for it!

“You’ll all get a private room in this lovely airconditioned property, three meals, and plenty of snacks! This horror game may keep you up all night — sleep at your own peril!”

“We’re replicating a medieval village in England with candle-lit locations and feasts that cater to vegetarian, meat-lovers and vegan folks! The nights are cold in the hills so it’s a great time to break out heavy cloaks and gambesons. We’ll also be putting on a bonfire on Saturday night.”

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